The past decade has witnessed a lot of job creation in the tech industry. There has been an emergence of job titles such as Data Scientist, App Developer, UX Designer and Growth Hacker. The demand for the services of Growth Hackers has soared tremendously but not without misconceptions on what the job is and what it is not.
What it is not
Growth hacking is not pulling a cat out of the hat, ‘abracadabra.’ It is not a few lines of code that you include on your website or your app to get millions of visitors or downloads overnight. Growth Hacking is not Computer or Software Hacking even if sometimes they can overlap. The goal is to hack growth, which means getting substantial growth the quickest way possible with a limited budget or tools. Growth hacking is not computer hacking like many think in a negative sense of it. Also, it is not the same as traditional marketing even if traditional marketing strategies are often deployed. It is also not a buzz word in the start up world and definitely not unethical even it is used in an unethical way by some unscrupulous people. It’s not unethical.
So what is growth hacking?
Growth hacking is a set of cross-disciplinary skills with the goal of growing a startup or a business. Needful to emphasis that the only objective and target of a growth hacker is growth. The ultimate goal is to find a predictable, repeatable and scalable growth process. Therefore, growth hacking is a process. And this is this process that many companies used to find new growth hacks. What people often forget when reading about successful growth hacking examples like Uber, AirBnB or Facebook, it’s that it took a long learning process before finding an effective growth hack.
The several steps in growth hacking
Metrics or Key Performance Indicators: It’s quite imperative that a start up chooses which metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to focus on plus each startup needs to have its own metrics. For example, Whatsapp the number of messages sent a day, Youtube the number of videos watched, Uber the number of rides. Once you have chosen which metrics to choose, you can start the growth hacking process accurately.
Channel Prioritization: In order to bring growth, a growth hacker has many channels he can use: SEO, SEM, Social Media (SMO, SMM), Content Marketing, PR, Email Marketing, online/offline event organizations, Video marketing, ASO, referral marketing (Viral Growth), UI/UX and business development/strategic alliances. Having an effective sales and marketing strategy in place is what can make your startup go from failure to success.
A/B Testing/ Experimentation: This is the most important part of the growth hacking process. Experimenting is really what defines growth hacking. There is need to test everything because quite It’s impossible to know if something is going to work without testing it. Assumptions can be made at some points yet those assumptions need to be tested.
Data Analysis /Analytic: Without data analysis growth hacking will be ineffective. There is need for one track what one is doing. If one’s steps are not trackable, then outcomes cannot be seen hence it is difficult to improve on strategy. It is very essential for one to have a data-driven orientation. There are so many ways to track your tests. If you’re using PR, the way to track would be the number of reviews or the number of bloggers/journalists answers. For those data, you also need to come up with and define your own metrics (KPIs).
User’s Feedback: Users’ feedback is extremely important. During A/B Testing, you need to get feedbacks from users. Sometimes it can be annoying to get feedbacks, especially when it’s negative but it is crucial to improve your product and make it more user-centric. Negative feedback is the most important actually. You need to take care of unhappy users/customers, they are the best ones. Why? 96% of unhappy users leave your product without telling you why, which means you most likely won’t know what was wrong. The 4% telling you why, explain you and allow you to improve your product, which means they can become evangelists if they really like your product’s improvements. If they complain, it is usually because they need your product the most and they just want it to be perfect. You need a feedback loop when applying the growth hacking process.
Optimization and Prioritization: Once you’ve analyzed the data, you need to optimize and prioritize your channels and then you redo your A/B Testing. Don’t forget that testing is a cyclical process and crucial for your success
Scalability/ Automation: Once you have optimized your channels and improved your product, it’s time to scale. Scalability is an important part of the process. You can scale your Start up by going to a new market, automatizing your channels amidst several methods.
Growth hacking is not just an entrepreneurial buzz word. It has come to stay. Many resumes, LinkedIn or Twitter profiles now have mentions of people who are growth hackers or growth hacking experts. In subsequent posts we shall look at the requirement for growth hacking.